|Posted on Sunday, December 31, 2006 - 08:30 am: ||
A dictator dies - but tyranny of violence goes on and on
A divided country marked the death of its former dictator with a mixture of carnage and celebration. Around the world, condemnation of the hastily carried-out execution grows. Andrew Malone reports
Published: 31 December 2006
As the body of Saddam Hussein was displayed on Iraqi television wrapped in a white shroud, the dawn execution of the Iraqi dictator did little to lift the darkness engulfing the country and provoked a bitter worldwide debate over his punishment.
While America hailed the "act of justice" and exiled Iraqis danced in the streets, celebrating from Sydney to San Francisco, the first bombs of the post-Saddam world exploded on a minibus south of Baghdad, killing 25 people and injuring 62. The morgue was hastily filled with bodies, and the suspected bomber was cornered in the street and murdered by a mob.
While the Vatican and Islamic leaders condemned the execution, life in Iraq continued much as it had throughout Saddam's rule and the subsequent US-led occupation: with bloodshed, vengeance and death.
Scores of Iraqis are dying every day. It was revealed yesterday that the death toll for US troops since the invasion is just short of 3,000, with 108 killed in December, and pro-Saddam factions swore yesterday that the violence would continue. By last night, the day's death toll stood at more than 70.
But in Saddam's home town of Tikrit, where curfews were in force yesterday, many seethed at the hanging of the ousted president, and claimed Saddam was now a martyr in the fight against the US-backed government.
"Saddam will be a hero in our eyes," said Um Abdullah, a Sunni teacher and teacher in the town, who pledged to wear black to mourn him. " I have five kids and I will teach them to take revenge on Americans."
"...I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 (600,000)(650,00)people paid with their lives; 1600 (2952) (2954) (2964) (2969) (2972) (2980) (2983) (2987) (2989) (2990) (2993) (2996) (2998)of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 (22,032) (22,401) of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies." George Galloway